The Congregation at Duke University Chapel

Maximizing Your Hour of Worship


Maximizing Your Hour of Worship

notes from a presentation at Adult Forum by
The Rev. Dr. Dan Day
October 23, 2011

Definition of Worship

Worship is a faithful human response to the revelation of God's being, character, beneficence and will. In worship, God is adored simply as God, God's character is praised, thanks are given for God's acts, and conformity to God's will is sought. Worship is the requital of God's live in a personal encounter, a communion which is reciprocal but asymmetrical, involving a "sacrifice of praise" (Heb. 13:15) on the part of the created and redeemed. God precedes humanity not only in the might deeds of creation and redemption but also in calling for, and in some sense enabling, the ever renewed response of worship. German theologians like to pun on "divine service" (Gottesdienst), saying that God serves us before we serve God. Finally, worship is participation in the life of God in the mode appropriate to created being.

-- Geoffrey Wainwright, "Theology of Worship" in The New Westminster Dictionary of Liturgy & Worship, ed. Paul Bradshaw (Westminster / John Knox Press, 2002), p.455.

The Holy Assignments of Worship: The Peoples' Work

  1. To praise God too fathomless for easy speech.
  2. To intercede for a world too dead to offer praise.
  3. To listen for a word two octaves too high. [Rabbi Abraham Heschel]
  4. To offer ourselves for a kingdom too long delayed.
  5. To receive strength for a conflict too fierce to engage alone.
  6. To do all this in mutual love too sincere to be broken.